Standardising the colour coding of inhalers could improve treatment and prevent deaths in asthma patients, according to findings of a UK Inhaler Group (UKIG) survey.
Across Europe there is a lack of formalised agreement on colour coding due to a lack of consensus between manufacturers, ensuring not all devices adhere to the typical green / blue colour conventions.
Data was collected using an overarching online self-reported questionnaire, developed by a multi-professional group of healthcare professionals (HCPs) and patient representatives in the UK.
The study found that 89% of 2,127 patients and 95% of 596 HCPs surveyed relied on the colour of the inhalation devices to describe and distinguish between steroid inhalers and short-acting β2-agonist inhalers; typically, users and HCPs expect steroid inhalers to be green, and β2-agonist inhalers to be blue.
The study continues to warn that as a wider range of inhaler devices are developed globally, the inhaler market has become increasingly complex, with an even wider array of colour coding used by individual pharmaceutical companies across different countries, exacerbating the issue.
The study concludes that it is most important to formalise the colour of β2-agonist inhalers due to its ability to provide vital emergency relief in asthma patients, as a standard colour will help to reduce the likelihood of error and may help to reduce the risk of asthma deaths.
The authors call on manufacturers to formalise colour conventions in the interests of HCP guidance and patient safety.